Rep. Gary Click pictured. Photo by: Morgan Trau | News 5. Photo illustration by News 5 WEWS.
The following article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.
An Ohio bill to limit health care for LGBTQ+ youth that was postponed by Republican lawmakers in November was reintroduced Wednesday morning, a Republican representative announced at a news conference.
Rep. Gary Click, a Republican from Vickery, reintroduced the SAFE Act to the 135th General Assembly after the bill that bans doctors from performing sex reassignment surgery on minors failed to pass last year.
Click said at a news conference Wednesday morning that the bill does not deny health care to transgender children, arguing that 85% to 95% of kids who feel they are trapped in the body of someone of the opposite gender outgrow that feeling as an adult, reports Jo Ingles, a reporter and producer for the Statehouse News Bureau.
OCJ/WEWS’s Morgan Trau reported last year that the bill was written without a basic understanding of the people it would impact and that Click had never spoken to any members of the trans community before authoring, introducing or giving testimony on the bill.
Based on Ingles’ reporting from Wednesday’s news conference, the reintroduced SAFE Act is largely unchanged from last year’s version and would require hospitals to report anonymous data about gender reassignment diagnoses, in addition to denying gender reassignment surgery and hormone blockers to minors.
Click said at the news conference that the bill has the support of both GOP House Speaker Jason Stephens and GOP Caucus leader Derek Merrin, with Stephens saying he considers it priority legislation.
As reported by OCJ/WEWS earlier this year, Stephens won the speakership by brokering a deal with Democrats in the Ohio House, telling his colleagues from across the aisle at the time that he would work with them on issues that bring them together.
“They needed our votes and we took the opportunity to make sure that we were going to be working with the speaker who we felt at the end of the day would work with us on the issues we could agree on,” Democratic Minority Leader Allison Russo said in January.
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Morgan Trau is a political reporter and multimedia journalist based out of the WEWS Columbus Bureau. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Trau has previously worked as an investigative, political and fact-checking reporter in Grand Rapids, Mich. at WZZM-TV; a reporter and MMJ in Spokane, Wash. at KREM-TV and has interned at 60 Minutes and worked for CBS Interactive and PBS NewsHour.